Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women event.
Women in small business demand more support from the government. Photo: @GS10KWomen.

99% of small businesswomen say they don't get enough support from the federal government

The nearly 1,000 of those engaged said current programs and services do not meet the needs of their businesses.


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November 8th, 2023

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In celebration of Women's History Month, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices recently released a new survey of 898 women-owned small businesses conducted February 22-27, 2023 in 47 states and Puerto Rico. The survey's results revealed that the federal government falls far short in supporting women-owned small businesses. 

Shaniece Bennett, founder of Accutrak Consulting and Accounting Services and a member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community, stated:

The playing field for female entrepreneurs has never been level.

Key findings

  • 99% of women-owned small businesses believe the federal government could do more to support them
  • 89% said the playing field for women-owned small businesses is not equal compared to male-owned businesses
  • 72% of respondents give the federal government a "C" or lower rating for effectiveness

The new survey data also reveals that current programs and services offered to women-owned businesses are not meeting their needs.

Goldman Sachs highlighted how, since it was authorized in 1994, the federal contract program for women-owned small businesses — created to help level the playing field for women, and pledged to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned companies every year — the pledge has only been met twice.

“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, there’s no better time to shine a light on the unique challenges faced by female small business owners and the many ways we can continue to grow our businesses. A good place to start is by ensuring the programs offered by the federal government are accessible and working,” added Bennett.

More findings

Respondents also cited obstacles to becoming certified, noting that the application process is difficult to navigate and small businesses are unaware of many of its benefits.

  • Out of the 36% of women who said they were certified, more than half (58%) said the application process was difficult, and 42% said the time spent applying was not worth the benefits.
  • Out of the 64% who are not certified, the top reasons they cited included: They are not familiar with certification or its benefits (25%). They are not convinced that the benefits of certification are worth it (24%). The process is too time consuming (18%).

Among the solutions Goldman Sachs proposed to address the inequality gap was to make a petition to Congress to reauthorize the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the first time in 23 years. The reauthorization would streamline the application process.

The women business owners surveyed also called for improved marketing resources and programs for women-owned small businesses, while requesting better support services for doing business with the federal government, and greater access to capital.

“There are a lot of good programs out there, but we need to ensure female small business owners have the resources, time, and awareness to take advantage of them. That’s why we’re calling on Congress to modernize the Small Business Administration for the first time since 2000,” said Janetta King, vice president at Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices.


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